interWorldRadio.net news 8th Feb 6 with Whales from Final-Virus.de
There has been a low turnout in Nepal’s local elections after opposition parties and Maoist rebels boycotted the polls. Maoist rebels, who have been fighting for the abolition of the monarchy, dubbed the elections a sham and dismissed them as an attempt to legitimize King Gynanendra’s absolute rule over the country. A quarter of seats had no candidates standing at all, reportedly after rebels issued threats to prospective candidates. The king seized full power last February saying political parties were failing to deal with the country's long-running Maoist insurgency.
Saudi Arabia has tightened safety measures following the sinking of an Egyptian ferry in the Red Sea. Saudi authorities refused to allow a second Egyptian ferry to carry passengers from its port saying the boat was too old and unsafe. The Al Salam 94, which was deemed unsafe, is owned by the same shipping firm as the Al Salam 98 ferry which sank on Friday. More than 900 people are feared to have died during the disaster.
Armed men have stolen 20 trucks carrying aid in Sudan’s Darfur region. The World Food Programme says it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit drivers because of the violence in the region. The attacks took place in zones controlled by Darfur’s rebels. Around 2.7 million people have been relying on food aid from the World Food Programme since conflict broke out in February 2003. An estimated 300,000 lives have been claimed by fighting and the humanitarian crisis in the region.
Sweden is planning to become an oil-free economy within 15 years. The country claims it can achieve this without building more nuclear power stations. The Swedish government said it intends to replace all fossil fuels with renewable energy before climate change destroys economies and growing oil scarcity leads to huge new price rises. Sweden was badly hit by oil price rises in the 1970s now gets almost all its electricity from nuclear and hydroelectric power. It relies on fossil fuels mainly for transport. The new plans will put Sweden at the top of the world green league table.
More than 100 Uzbek refuges who fled their country after violent protests in Andijan last May have started to move into permanent homes in third countries. The refugees have been staying temporarily in Kyrgyzstan and Romania. The Uzbek government said the violence last May which led to the deaths of many protestors was engineered by Islamic militants. But international organisation Human Rights Watch claimed the protests were sparked by economic conditions. There has been no independent investigation into the clashes.